Monday, August 01, 2005

A Question of Constitutional Fortitude

As far as I can tell, the deadline for the formal extension on the writing of the Iraqi consitution has passed without a request and the document will therefore be completed by August 15 and then voted on by the Iraqi people on October 15. Reuters reports:
Drafters of the constitution will have to resolve a host of sensitive issues that cut across sectarian lines if they are to get their task done on time.

Hammoudi said only one chapter of the document remained to be written and expected it would be done in the next 10 days. But it is the most sensitive chapter, dealing with federalism.

"We will work day and night to finish it on time. Even our Sunni brothers insist on finishing it on time," he said.

A women's group called More Than One Source held a news conference to express their concern over the document, saying Islam should not be the only basis for Iraqi law, as desired by some influential Shi'ite religious leaders.

"We demand Islam to be one of the sources in legislation, but not the principal source in it," said Rend Raheem, the Iraqi ambassador to Washington, a member of the group.

"We are not afraid of Sharia. We are afraid of arbitrary interpretations of Islam, which will restrict freedom."

The American ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, praised the constitutional process but urged Iraqis living in guerrilla strongholds to avoid being recruited by "terrorists."

"I warn Iraqis in central and western Iraq to avoid falling into the trap laid by their enemies," he told a news conference.

Insurgent bombings and assassinations have gone on unabated as Iraqis have tried to keep the political process on track.

The schedule calls for the draft constitution to be written by Aug. 15, put to a referendum by Oct. 15 and elections for a new government to be held under the charter by Dec. 15.

Yesterday Omar at Iraq the Model examined some of the key issues of the consitution.
And regarding the most critical issue which is defining the role of religion in the constitution, there's also a good possibility for changing the part that said "2-Islam is the official religion of the state and it is the main source of legislations…" to something like "Islam is …..and it's a main source of legislations" or "…is one of the sources of legislations" and either way is going to somehow protect the rights of women and human rights in general and at the same time satisfy the demands of religious parties and frankly speaking I don't think it's possible at the moment to have no mention of Islam in the constitution.

Another controversial point was the distribution of revenues of important resources (mainly oil money) among the federal counties (or provinces) and the central state and apparently they have settled on a resolution that assigns 90% of these incomes to the central state while the remaining 10% would go directly to the province to be invested by the local authorities in projects that focus mainly on the infra structure or according to the needs of the province.

Also yesterday Raed Jarrar, on his comments page, addressed the concerns around the writing of the constitution.
the news on yahoo looks very confusing!

1.Iraq constitution team considers seeking a delay
Reuters via Yahoo! News - 1 hour, 43 minutes ago

2.Iraq constitution writers mull delay
Reuters via Yahoo! News - Jul 31 5:40 AM

3.Iraq constitution panel vows to present draft in 2 weeks
AFP via Yahoo! News - Jul 31 5:44 AM

4.Iraq Constitution Draft Expected by 8/15
AP via Yahoo! News - Jul 31 1:39 AM

5.Iraq Constitution Framer Seeks Extension
AP via Yahoo! News - Jul 31 1:43 AM


Tell you the truth, I didn;t expect they'll ask for an extension at all. I don't know how can they afford such a thing!

The government is falling apart, and waiting for some other months won't make things easier.
When pressed why he seemed to take a certain satisfaction in the possibility that the Iraqi hopes for a stable government might not succeed, Raed Jarrar replied:
because it is falling apart. It was built on a wrong base.

I wish it wasnt falling though, and I wish none of the mistakes committed by the US adminstration and the Iraq government had happened.


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